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Is the 981 GTS Peak Modern Porsche?

Turbocharging did not gain the Boxster and Cayman any fans. The models kindly picked up 911 fans’ spare derision when the transaxle cars left production in the mid-1990s, and have carried the torch of poor public perception from their predecessors. Real enthusiasts should only be buying 911s after all, or so the line goes. Despite having something of an optics problem right from the outset the cars have always been built upon an excellent foundation, with enviable driving dynamics and a sonorous, if not always powerful, flat-six.

JayEmm likes to couple clickbait with calm reasoning, which gives him a leg up on most Youtubers. To be clear he is saying the 981 GTS is the only modern Porsche he would buy, not the only one you should buy, and that mostly comes down to Jay not being the biggest 911 fan. The man daily drove an Exige for quite some time, which makes me think he’s made an honest assessment of himself as someone who does not need a back seat.

He rather rightly points out the existence of the 718 Boxster and Cayman’s flat-four gave their six-cylinder immediate predecessors something of a boost on the secondhand market. Buyers who were in for the noise and the character of a Boxster were not easily wowed by the new car, despite it improving on paper in virtually every metric. The sound of the flat-four was too Subaru-like, and the whole package lacked the effortless smoothness of the old mill. The GT3-mimicking GT4 and Spyder seek to change that.

But does that make the 981 the pick of Porsche’s recent past? At present 981 Boxster and Cayman GTS models on classifieds sites are sitting in the high $50k range and even into the low $70k range with modest miles. That sort of pricetag knocks on the door of cars like the 997 Turbo or any number of 991.1 911s. Indeed, that sort of pricetag will by very nice 996 GT3 with some money left over.

That said, where do you stand on JayEmm’s assessment? Is the 981 Boxster GTS the modern Porsche to own?

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Why Have Rear-Engined Designs Survived with Porsche?

Being rear-engined does have some drawbacks. Even a 356, which carries far less weight aft of its rear axle, can have a penchant for bringing the tail around under certain conditions. As an avowed lover of the 356, you can only imagine the amount of jealousy I am feeling that Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky even had the chance to spin an America Roadster on a wet racetrack. You can probably also imagine my joy at not needing to be the one to tell Porsche I just spun a one-of-21 America Roadster. But the purpose of this video is not to watch Jason backwards, in the mud, in a 356. It’s to highlight why Porsche stuck with a rear-engined design.

The short answer is that they could stick with a rear-engined design despite their best efforts to move to a more modern layout. Other rear-engined cars cropped up in the 1950s and 1960s, but none survived that apparent renaissance, save for the 911. From Chevrolet’s Corvair, to the Renault Dauphine, and even on to the long series of Alpine sports cars which often competed with the 911, none made it out of the 90s. Yet the 911 endures despite repeated attempts to kill it.

The fact that the 911 has since the mid-1980s is down to a combination of the 959 and Teutonic Stubbornness; a phrase which Porsche should probably trademark. The 959 highlighted the future of the layout, strapping thoroughly modern technology to an old idea to show that it still had life left in it. Porsche implemented features that wouldn’t become mainstream for decades using the tools available to them in the mid-1980s. This, of course, dragged out development. Many of the electronics and systems simply didn’t exist yet- Porsche had to create them.

Over the coming years 959-like features would appear in other 911 models. All-wheel-drive came with the 964, twin-turbochargers with the 993, and active suspension has been available on 911s since the 2005 Carrera S. The 959 signaled a sea-change within Porsche, most of it on the back of the rear-engined and evergreen 911. Driver-selectable ride-heights are available on Porsche’s SUV models, though we have not yet seen a designated Gelande ultra-low first gear on a manual-transmission Cayenne.

This combination of advancement and adherence to tradition makes it a challenge to come up with an analogue for the 959 in another industry. In some ways it’s like strapping Sidewinder missiles and advanced radar to a P-38 Lightning, and in others its akin to the last generation of 35mm film cameras, many of which were technologically superior to their digital counterparts in every respect but their capture media.

In any case, we’re extremely happy Porsche have stuck with the layout. It has given us year after year of dynamically involving sports cars which have no real peers in the modern marketplace, at least not for enthusiasts who want a car with an engine out back.

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What Will Porsche’s New Vision GT Car Look Like?

No, Porsche is not creating a new racing series for Marvel’s favorite android superhero. Porsche is instead joining the shockingly long list of manufacturers to create a bespoke concept for the Gran Turismo series. When Gran Turismo reached its fifteenth year back in 2013 the developers reached out to manufacturers to create concepts to include in the game and began a remarkable string of cars. Twenty-seven such cars have since been created for both Gran Turismo 6 and Gran Turismo Sport from manufacturers as varied as Volkswagen and Iso.

While a recent Autoblog post affirms that Porsche has agreed to participate in the program, we do not yet know what the new Vision Gran Turismo car will look like. In any case this is a big step forward for a marque that was once represented in Gran Turismo solely by Ruf.

In recent years Porsche themselves have produced several compelling concepts that could neatly fill the niche. We like the 917 Living Legend design study that came out last year, though that study didn’t come with a proposed powertrain or performance stats.

Likewise, the 908-04 concept developed by a group of off-hours Chery designers last year is also an interesting choice, and continues the futuristic theme used by other past Vision GT cars. That design study pulled elements from the 908LH, 917, Mission E, and the 919, tying together disparate decades of design into a surprisingly cohesive whole. Unlike the 917 Living Legend the 908-04 was even designed with an interior.

Porsche will likely want to create a wholly new design for the game, as that is the precedent laid out by all the preceding manufacturers to participate. The strength of offerings like these sets an extremely high bar for Porsche’s forthcoming digital effort.

What feature from Porsches past or present would you like to see on a Vision Gran Turismo? What could this digital hypercar feature to help bring the excitement of Porsche to a younger gaming audience?

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Inside the Brumos Collection’s New Museum

Brumos Racing folded in 2013, and their namesake dealership, Brumos Porsche closed its doors in 2016. In the world of Porsche racing in America though, there are few names more legendary. The institution driven into the psyche of race fans by Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood spent decades seemingly turning from success to success, and in that time they accumulated a deeply impressive collection of cars. What was once a private, invitation-only collection at the Brumos dealership is now a public museum in Jacksonville, Florida.

The space is split roughly in half, with one side devoted to open wheel racing cars and the other to the Brumos Porsche collection. For fans of pre-war cars the open wheel collection appears to be absolutely remarkable, and houses an astounding number of Millers. While a front-wheel-drive Miller may appear patently backwards to a 911 fan, these cars were nothing short of revolutionary for their day. Cars like the Miller Golden Submarine streamliner, Miller 91, Miller GP and more may not have always achieved success, but they showed some of the most forward-thinking engineering of their day.

For Porsche fans the place appears to be a haven. In addition to numerous legendary cars from Brumos’ own history, Hurley Haywood-piloted 935 and 962 racecars, the team’s Can-Am 917/10-007, and numerous others, the collection spans Porsche racing cars more generally. A 917K is present, as are a 550 Spyder, 914-6 GT, 908K, a Transporter, and more. We do question the wisdom of carpeting the space, as it is far easier to wipe drool from hardwood.

The museum has limited hours, and is open from 10am-3pm on Thursdays and Fridays by pre-sale only.

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This Porsche 944 Was Neglected For 19 Years, Watch Its Revival!

This 1984 Porsche 944 has been off the road for more than half of its life, and was last registered when it was just 16 years old. After 19 years spent sitting, apparently outside based on the sheer volume of mold and mouse waste, the car was donated to Kars 4 Kids. The car was filthy, not running, and had a stuck brake caliper. Kars 4 Kids was taking the car to auction to help fund their organization, and it was pretty clear that its condition was going to hamper bidding. Enter Larry Kosilla.

If you’re not already familiar with Larry, the man is a master detailer. For newbies to car detailing his introductory and intermediate series on detailing are invaluable. Each of his videos is laden with tips on how to make the most of often tragically-neglected cars. This particular video introduces a handy technique for filling stone chips with a medical syringe, as well as how to preserve deteriorating carpets.

For those of you who might not handle your own detailing though, this video is sheer catharsis. Watching this 944 transition from a feces-laden home for mice to an unusually-handsome project car is refreshing. Seeing the car leave Larry’s garage with its excited new owner, hopefully destined for a renewed life out of the weeds, is emblematic of what makes this hobby special.

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